Learn how to assemble and decorate a beautiful modern living room with organic shapes, warm colors, and intentional furniture selection.
Your living room is a sanctuary, entertainment room, and conversation center all rolled into one — it's no wonder it's one of the most popular rooms in the house! If you're looking to create a modern living room that looks like it was designed by a pro, we’re here to help. Below, you'll find home decor ideas that make your space feel elegant and comforting (and super modern) while achieving all of the above. You’ll be on your way to creating a modern living room space in no time!
Architecture and furniture are both leaning more into organic and non-traditional shapes over clean lines lately — and these modern design trends are more than welcome in our book. Without care, home decor with perfectly straight lines and harsh corners could feel cold and unwelcoming.
If your home is built like a grid system, softly rounded modern furniture can help offset this. Even something as simple as an armchair and table can transform how your entire living room feels. For example, a decorative mirror with a non-uniform shape is a wonderful way to add visual intrigue. Plus, if your space is smaller, mirrors can also act as a bit of a cheat code to make a living room feel larger than it actually is.
Try to stick with only one or two, though. Too many mirrors in a single space can make it almost feel like a funhouse (minus the fun). If possible, stage the mirror in such a way that it will reflect natural lighting or an artificial ambient light source like a light fixture.
Side tables, entertainment centers, coffee tables, vases, and candles are a simple way to add organic shapes and colors to the area while maintaining a minimalist decor style. To add pops of color, add some plant life to the vases or go with a bolder decorative accessory for your table.
Whether in a small space or a larger family room, greenery draws the eye and gives the room a grounded feel. Greenery is always welcome, especially in a modern living room. Plant life brings nature into the inner sphere in a way that works seamlessly with even the most modern looks.
Consumer technology used to be visually prominent, a trend that began with the radios of the 1930s. In the 90s and 2000s, even little items like calculators and watches were made with bright colors that were supposed to be easily noticed.
Today, there is a revived interest in hiding technology in plain sight. Our smartwatches are starting to look remarkably like mechanical watches. Bikes you see people riding in the park in New York City could be e-bikes, and you couldn’t even tell.
This trend of invisible technology has its roots in the 1970s. It was a design and fashion rebellion against the futuristic aesthetics of the 60s. People wanted more natural, organic colors and materials as the focal points of their homes. The design ideas of the time became much more nature-focused. (Besides our renewed love of bell bottoms and statement earrings, this is another note from the 70s that we just can’t get enough of.)
We’re seeing something very similar today with some television manufacturers making TVs with built-in frames that show pictures and paintings while the TV is not in use (like the infamous Samsung Frame). This technology trend works well with a modern living room design, especially if you have a small living room where one loose cable would stick out like white after Labor Day.
The optimal TV height is a common discourse amongst homeowners — what may prove ideal for one is a neck-twinging affair for another. Before mounting your TV into the wall or putting it up on a shelving unit, ensure you can marathon your favorite show in comfort.
For that (and so many other things), rely on Spoak’s interior design suite. You can project your TV size — height and width exactly — into a model of your living room directly in the software. It's much simpler to point and click away an error than pull out the drywall and the spackle.
Keep the space as serene as possible by tucking away power cords, wires, cables, etc., out of sight. Not only does this reduce visual clutter, but it prevents us from tripping over cords when we sneak downstairs for a midnight snack.
Your home is a place of peace, but here’s a tip from the battlefield — use camouflage to your advantage (seriously). If you have cords running from antique wall sconces or a mounted TV, opt for cords that are the same color as your wall. Use your original wall paint color to coat each cable, or purchase stick-back cord covers if you threw the paint out when you got too deep into your Marie Kondo phase.
Interior designers know it’s all about the details. Some people say, “Don’t let them see you sweat.” We say, “Don’t let them see that awkward light switch that draws too much attention to itself.”
Smart bulbs are an easy way to get dimmable lights without having to install a dedicated and permanent dimming switch unit on your wall.All it takes is the lights and your smartphone to completely transform the atmosphere and mood of your living room on the fly. You can also change the color gradient of the light from the smart bulb. Color-changing capabilities are particularly useful for spaces that need more warm lighting if natural lighting is limited. Get ready to transform your traditionally formal living space into the neighborhood movie night hot spot.
Wood is well-loved by interior designers because it’s naturally beautiful and generally ages well if treated properly. This natural material acts as an accent that creates warmth and is inviting to the eye, all while making a space feel more organic.
Wood flooring is as functional as it is beautiful, which is why it’s a key part of home design. In the 1940s, wood flooring was viewed as harsh, cold, and old-fashioned. It was promptly replaced with wall-to-wall carpeting, often in shag variations. If you shudder at that fact, you’re not alone.
Luckily, wood is more treasured than ever, and we’re being more careful than ever about visual proportions. Say goodbye to the dusty, muted wood paneling of the 1950s to the 1970s and hello to its cooler older sister — wood panels 2.0. Now in striking tones, be they light aspens or dark mahogany, wood is in its redemption arc.
Part of why the material is so appealing is the imperfections. Older “modern” living rooms used to center around hyper-straight lines and perfect 90-degree angles. Wood does a great job of combating harsh lines with organic grains and nature-made curves. These pops of brown in a range of neutral color palettes can warm up an environment and make the room look and feel extra cozy.
Keep your living room simple. Your living space is supposed to be a sanctuary of relaxation and conversation. Nothing is wrong with personalization and decor, but sometimes, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
A living room should be spacious and inviting. Try to keep the coffee tables and end tables uncluttered. Give everything its own stage to shine!
Whether you’re inclined to minimalism or grandmillennial style, the perfect paint color is what ties a modern living room together.
Here are a few tips before you start comparing paint chips:
Minimalism doesn’t always mean cold or empty. The color scheme plays a key role in making a modern home that feels stylish and comfortable. Generally, muted colors are gentler to the eyes.
Perhaps you’ll want to play with a warm cream-based color palette for your living room walls and complement it with furniture in warm whites, taupe, and beiges. When in doubt, white walls can pair with just about any modern living room decorating ideas you might have. With white walls, consider adding extra-colorful decor and furniture to bring warmth to an otherwise stark space. Alternatively, you can go with a more modern high gloss paint. High gloss is pretty shiny, making it a go-to for trim and cabinet doors.
Art doesn’t always have to come in the form of a traditional gallery wall. If you have living room furniture in muted colors, a handmade quilt with some color and a unique design is a fun way to incorporate some visual interest and texture into your living area. Or, try hanging tapestries from the ceilings as an upscale way to bring the Renaissance into your living room.
If custom-framing your great-grandmother’s quilt or sewing on a hanging sleeve isn’t in the cards, try wooden quilt hanging clips. Wooden quilt clips are nearly as unique as quilts — match them to your wood floors for ceiling-to-floor cohesion.
Paintings with texture can also complement the features of your furnishings and decor. We’re not necessarily saying you need to rehash the stucco walls of the 1970s and 80s (unless that’s your thing, of course).
The living room is an opportunity for you to express yourself to guests and let your creative run wild. Modern living rooms today strike a delicate balance between form and function. While general ideas will carry you through the decades as styles and trends change, the one thing you can rely on is your own vision and preferences. Don't forget to bring a side of confidence!
Photo Credit: (Left) Apartment Therapy
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